From influential novel to award-winning stage production

July 28, 2017

Free public lecture: Professor Grehan will lead the expert panel discussion

Murdoch University will host a free public lecture and panel discussion to celebrate the upcoming stage production of the literary classic, 1984.

George Orwell’s 1984 ­ is a startlingly original and haunting novel with eerie knowledge of modern society.

On Monday, 31 July, at Murdoch’s Perth Campus, an expert panel will discuss the history of the texts, the transfer of book to stage and the implications this story has on us now.

The free event will complement the Australian production of the award-winning international theatrical blockbuster, seen by more than a quarter of a million people.

Published in 1949, George Orwell’s 1984 engaged with the dangers of war and totalitarianism in the twentieth century.

Murdoch School of Art's Professor Helena Grehan ­ — who will host the panel discussion with Murdoch lecturers Professor Vijay Mishra, Historian Dr Andrew Webster, and author and director Dr David Moody ­ — said the themes and story of 1984 are as important today as they were when the novel was first published.

“1984 is one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century, with its depiction of perpetual war, pervasive government tracking, mind control and the corruption of language and history,” Professor Grehan said.

“Its ideas seem increasingly pertinent to an often fraught political and technological landscape of the west in the twenty first century.”

Many of the terms coined by Orwell in the book have entered the English language, with the entity of Big Brother becoming one of the most iconic literary inventions and potent symbols of the twentieth century.

“Indeed, even the recent US Presidential campaign drew on Orwell’s ideas with US Senator Bernie Sanders warning of an “Orwellian future” when responding to the rise of Wikileaks and the release of classified NSA files by Edward Snowden,” Grehan explained.

The event, ‘Back to the Future: George Orwell’s 1984 today’, will commence at 6:00pm in Murdoch University’s Kim Beasley Lecture Theatre and is a collaboration between Murdoch University’s School of Arts and the Perth Theatre Trust.

The stage adaptation of 1984 at His Majesty’s Theatre — created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillian — is described as a dynamic, political, technology-enhanced dive into Orwell’s complex vision.

For more information on the play, please visit:

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